Telford and Wrekin Council has launched a pilot scheme at the Ministry of Defence site at Donnington, incentivising 20 employees to walk or cycle to work instead of driving.
The Active SMiles project was designed by the council’s Health Protection Hub and Health Improvement Team in conjunction with Travel Telford. It uses behavioural science principles to incentivise and reward a greener form of commuting.
In order to help participants with cost-of-living issues, the Ministry of Defence employees will be rewarded with £50 in supermarket vouchers if they walk or cycle to or from work 10 times during the month of October.
According to the council, giving people an incentive to try the scheme for a month was key to encouraging them to commute in a more sustainable way, which they might then maintain long-term. It also wanted to highlight to employees the benefits in terms of their physical and mental health and the money they will save on fuel.
The council has sought funding to extend the scheme and said it aims to run it with a larger group of employers in 2023.
Labour Councillor Richard Overton, deputy leader and cabinet member for housing, enforcement and transport, said: “This is a super scheme and I very much hope it will nudge these individuals into reducing their reliance on cars over the longer term, supporting our vision to make Telford and Wrekin carbon neutral by 2030, improve their health and local air quality, and lead the way in showing others what’s possible.”
Rebecca Thomas-Nye, a technical apprentice from Babcock International, added: “I am looking to live a healthier lifestyle and combining that with my concerns over climate change, I thought I would be proactive and take part in the pilot of Active SMiles. I hope to carry on cycling to work after the completion of Active SMiles and that it becomes the norm for me to do so.”